Cricket World Cup 2019: Stats back Australian Alex Carey as tournament's best wicket-keeper

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Alex Carey

Rohit Sharma, David Warner, Kane Williamson and Joe Root have the straightforward numbers to lay their claims as the best batsmen of the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Mitchell Starc – who took 27 wickets – can boast of being arguably the best bowler of the tournament.

How do we compare wicket-keepers, who are tasked to not just fulfil their primary duty behind the stumps, but also chip in with crucial runs?

We use metrics of batting average and dismissals per innings to pick out three of the best and all-rounded keepers from the tournament.

A graphic depicting the performance of the wicket-keepers in the CWC 2019

A graphic depicting the performance of the wicket-keepers in the CWC 2019

The x-axis of the graph produced using numbers obtained from Cricinfo measures the batting average of the wicket-keepers. The y-axis scales the dismissals per innings, which corresponds to the total stumpings plus catches per innings.

  1. Tom Latham (New Zealand)

The Kiwis’ man behind the stumps Tom Latham had a sub-par tournament with the bat, much like most of his team-mates. He could manage just 155 runs at an average of just 19.38 and a strike-rate of 71.76.

However, with an average of 2.1 dismissals per game, the 27-year-old has more than made up for it. He was at the end of 21 catches in 10 games, three of them arriving in the crucial semi-final game against India.

A simple eye-test across the World Cup could vouch for his spot on the podium. Latham finished the tournament as the keeper with the most dismissals and has achieved it at the maximum rate.

The Christchurch-born player was never among the runs but his 56-ball 47 against England in the finals was one of the most composed innings under pressure. Latham provided his team a fighting chance on a slowing pitch, delivering when they needed him most.

  1. Jos Buttler (England)

Buttler (6)

World Champion Jos Buttler is the next player to step on the podium. The 28-year-old was involved in 1.2 dismissals per game and recorded a healthy average of 34.67 en route to his impressive tournament total of 312 runs.

The Englishman’s importance to his side is not limited to the numbers on this chart, for it does not take into consideration the weight of the runs scored.

Buttler’s 60-ball 59 against New Zealand in the final could very well go down as the most important innings of his life. Over time he has proved to be a solid, dependable batsman and his reputation of the same soared in the final.

The wicket-keeper has an impressive overall strike-rate of 122.83, which is superior to that of every other glovesman in the tournament. But his most important contribution to his team will always be the 110-run partnership with Ben Stokes during which he took England’s score from 86/4 to 196/5 in the final.

  1. Alex Carey (Australia)
Alex Carey

Alex Carey

While Adam Gilchrist partnered with Matthew Hayden during Australia’s golden age to provide strong starts, Alex Carey has played a crucial role in cleaning the mess left behind by their current under-performing middle-order.

With 375 runs, Carey finished the tournament as the top run-getter among wicket-keepers. His average of 62.5 is a notch above that of any other player and he also maintained a great strike-rate of 104.17.

The 27-year-old was involved in 20 dismissals, including two stumpings. His dismissal rate of 2.0 per innings is second only to that of Latham.

However, unlike Latham and Buttler, Carey was an extremely crucial entity to his team’s batting line-up. In fact, his 375 runs accounts for 14 per cent of Australia’s total of 2757 runs off the bat. This puts him ahead of the likes of Usman Khawaja (11%), Glenn Maxwell (6%) and Marcus Stoinis (3%) and on par with Steve Smith (14%).

A pie-chart of the runs scored by Australian batsmen in the CWC 2019

A pie-chart of the runs scored by Australian batsmen in the CWC 2019

Carey proved his mettle against big teams, scoring fifties against India and New Zealand and was the lone warrior against England in the semi-final. The fact that most of his runs have arrived under pressure adds more weight to them.

Is safe to say, the 27-year-old was the best all-roundwicket-keeper of the World Cup and the Aussies struck gold with the player who is still in the early stages of his career.

Honourable mention – Mushfiqur Rahim (Bangladesh), Shai Hope (West Indies)

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Cricket World Cup 2019: That winning moment and others that will live long in the memory

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The dust has settled after an entertainment Cricket World Cup culminated with arguably the greatest game in the sport’s rich history.

England and New Zealand fought tooth and nail in the final before the former claimed victory after a tied Super Over, winning their first-ever title in front of their home support.

That final will live long in the memory, but there were a few other moments over the course of the tournament that are worth revisiting…

STOKED FOR AN OVERTHROW

The hosts needed nine to win off three balls and when Ben Stokes raced back for two after hitting Trent Boult to deep midwicket, the throw from Martin Guptill struck the Englishman’s outstretched bat in a freak incident and raced away to the boundary.

It was the kind of lucky break no one could’ve seen coming and New Zealand were helpless. As a result, England were awarded six runs instead of two, drastically changing the equation.

Requiring just three of the remaining two deliveries, Stokes was able to tie the scores and take the final to a Super Over but according to ICC rules, only five runs should’ve been awarded in that scenario as the batsmen hadn’t crossed when the throw was released.

Furthermore, that would’ve seen Adil Rashid on strike for the next ball instead of Stokes. It doesn’t automatically mean New Zealand would’ve won instead but certainly sparks controversy.

The fact that Boult had caught Stokes off a slower Jimmy Nesham ball in the previous over only adds to the drama.

ALL-ROUND STAR

As far as his own performances go, Shakib Al Hassan had the perfect tournament.

But the moment that stood out was his all-round display during a 62-run victory over Afghanistan because that’s when he sent numerous records tumbling at the Rose Bowl.

On a slow track, Shakib’s hard fought 51 helped Bangladesh to a competitive 262/7 before bamboozling batsmen with the ball and delivering figures of 5/29 as Afghanistan were dismissed for 200 in 47 overs.

In doing so, Shakib matched Yuvraj Singh’s record of scoring 50-plus runs and taking five wickets in the same World Cup match.

He also became the first cricketer in World Cup history to score 400-plus runs and pick up 10 wickets in the same tournament.

To further his status as one of the best all-rounders of all-time, Shakib became the first player to score 1000-plus runs and take 30-plus wickets in World Cups.

But what truly made his World Cup special was the progress he showed as a batsman. Having been promoted up the order recently, he has been remarkably consistent and became the joint-third fastest to 1000 ODI runs batting at No3.

SHARMA’S BIGGEST HIT

Ever since he first broke onto the international scene in 2007, Rohit Sharma has been hailed a batting prodigy but inconsistency has always haunted him.

The Mumbai-born opener was in ominous form during this tournament though, finishing as top scorer with 648 runs from just nine innings with an average of 81.

The crowning glory of his campaign was that blistering knock of 140 against Pakistan off just 113 balls. After launching Hassan Ali for six with a glorious pull-shot early on in his innings, he never looked back.

What followed was a masterful display of stroke play with the odd hefty blow adding an element of punch to a scintillating innings.

The fact that it came against fierce rivals Pakistan and helped India extend their winning streak against them at World Cups (now seven wins) only made it sweeter.

It was Rohit Sharma at his very best.

SHAHEEN SHINES BRIGHT

Shaheen Shah Afridi only featured in five of Pakistan’s eight league games but his tally of 16 wickets – the most by at teenage at a World Cup – was just one shy of Mohammad Amir’s who played every single one.

By the time Pakistan faced Bangladesh in their final league game, the knockout stages were beyond reach but that didn’t stop Shaheen from leaving his mark on the tournament.

The left-arm quick bowled phenomenally to deliver figures of 6/35 as he led his side to a 94-run win.

The dismissal of Mahmudullah was special. Bowling over the wicket to the right-hander, his in-swinging yorker couldn’t have been better placed. And with the stumps rattled, Shaheen became the youngest bowler to take five World Cup wickets in a single match.

His sixth scalp of the day meant his spell was the best-ever by a Pakistan bowler at a World Cup.

THE BUTTLER DID IT

England have waited 44 years for this precise moment and though this dominant side shouldn’t have left their fans sweating, it was fitting that they triumphed in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Chasing 16 runs for victory in the Super Over, New Zealand’s Jimmy Neesham navigated the first five balls well, launching Jofra Archer for six in the second delivery. Aided by some excellent running between the wickets from Guptil, the Kiwis only needed two off the final ball.

However, it was Guptil on strike for the first time in the over and his punch to deep midwicket was straight to Jason Roy. He scampered back for a second but was never winning that race.

The throw wasn’t perfect and Buttler had to stretch to collect it before destroying the stumps in one big arcing motion as if sweeping away the misery of the last four decades along the way. Guptil was well short and the keeper instantly set off on wild celebration, tossing the ball away, then his glove.

The Super Over was tied but England had won on a technicality, scoring more boundaries in their six deliveries. By the slimmest margins imaginable, England were champions.

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Cricket World Cup 2019: Lasith Malinga rolling back clock v England among top-five spells

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Malinga was sensational against England at Headingley.

There were many things that stood out in the 2019 ICC World Cup with the immense success enjoyed by bowlers being one of them.

The tournament in England saw some fascinating contests between bat and ball, with the latter coming out on top on plenty of occasions.

Here, we cast our eye on the top five bowling spells from the World Cup:

Liam Plunkett (England)

3-41 v New Zealand

The brilliance of Liam Plunkett’s spell against the Kiwis was magnified by the occasion as it came in the final.

The Black Caps had recovered from the early loss of Martin Guptill through a threatening stand between Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls, but Wood wrestled back the initiative for England in the middle-overs with a damaging second spell.

The England medium-pacer used the cross-seamed delivery to deadly effect at Lord’s to dismiss both set batsmen in his second spell, before returning to dismiss the dangerous James Neesham with the same method.

New Zealand’s batting never truly recovered from the dismissals of those three crucial batsmen.

Plunkett's cross-seamers worked a treat.

Plunkett’s cross-seamers worked a treat.

Mitchell Starc (Australia)

4-43 v England

Lord’s was lucky to witness some of the best spells of the tournament and it was hosts England who were on the receiving end when Mitchell Starc cranked up the heat.

The Aussie pace spearhead claimed two five-wicket hauls on his way to a record World Cup tally, but it was his showing against England that stood out.

With Australia attempting to defend a total of 285, Starc put the five-time champions on top against their arch-rivals with a devastating spell with the new-ball. He rattled the in-form Joe Root with a vicious inswinger before surprising Eoin Morgan with a menacing bouncer.

The hosts were threatening to recover from those early setbacks through a defiant innings from Ben Stokes, but Starc returned to shatter the stumps of the all-rounder with a toe-crushing yorker that was arguably the delivery of the tournament.

Starc rolled England over at Lord's.

Starc rolled England over at Lord’s.

Shaheen Afridi (Pakistan)

6-35 v Bangladesh

While Pakistan had effectively been knocked out of the tournament at that point, Shaheen Afridi gave their fans something to cherish with a memorable display at Lord’s.

Afridi wreaked havoc on Bangladesh’s batting unit with a six-wicket burst and wrote his name into the record book in the process. His 6-35 are the best-ever ODI figures recorded by any bowler at Lord’s and he became the first teenager to claim a five-wicket haul at the ‘home of cricket’ in the process.

It ended up being the best figures in the tournament by any bowler and was made remarkable by the fact that it came from a 19-year-old pacer playing in his first World Cup campaign.

Afridi was flying against Bangladesh.

Afridi was flying against Bangladesh.

Matt Henry (New Zealand)

3-37 v India

India’s fans would have already been dreaming of the World Cup final when their team restricted New Zealand to 239 in the first semi-final at Manchester.

However, a complete shock lay in store for them and India’s star-studded batting unit on the reserve day with the Kiwi pacers running riot at Old Trafford.

It was Matt Henry who triggered India’s downfall with a stupendous opening spell with the moving ball that accounted for in-form openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. Both batsmen had no clue as to what hit them with Henry hitting a dangerous line and length that gave them no hiding room.

Trent Boult removed Virat Kohli at the other end to hurt India further before Henry claimed his third wicket of the day by sending back Dinesh Karthik. Those vital top-order wickets left India in tatters and a brilliant counter-attacking innings from Ravindra Jadeja wasn’t enough to save their campaign in the end.

Henry rattled India's top-order in the semi-final.

Henry rattled India’s top-order in the semi-final.

Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka)

4-41 v England

It was Sri Lanka’s shock win over England that blew the tournament wide open in the latter stages and it was all set up by a vintage display from Lasith Malinga.

The veteran pacer turned back the clock at Headingley with a rousing display that left the hosts in tatters in a modest run chase of 233.

Malinga trapped Jonny Bairstow lbw for a golden duck before he found the outside edge of James Vince to give Sri Lanka a terrific start with the ball. England still managed to recover and were looking destined for a win, before Malinga returned to crush their hopes once again.

The 35-year-old snuffed out Joe Root’s innings before unleashing a trademark yorker that beat the dangerous Joe Buttler all ends up. Those two wickets turned the game on its head completely with Sri Lanka eventually wrapping up a famous win.

Malinga blew the tournament wide open with his spell.

Malinga blew the tournament wide open with his spell.

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